This is the first part of a three part series written by Brian Flach (MNUte) previewing Utah recruiting heading into National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
With less than a week until National Signing Day, Utah is in a position to make a very strong closing push to finish up the recruiting season. This is a three part look at where the Utes are currently sitting, who’s visiting this weekend, and who’s strongly in contention for the Utes.
And right off the bat, let’s look at the current commits. The Utes Currently have twelve recruits, with four four-stars and the rest three-stars. Overall, it’s a good balance of positions as well as JUCOs vs high schoolers. From it though, you can definitely see the Utes are putting their biggest efforts into CB’s, WR’s and D-linemen. This makes sense since the secondary will be completely changed aside from Chase Hansen., the receivers are still a question mark albeit an improving one, and the Utes always load up the D-line. Here’s the current list of commits.
Jaylon Johnson, Four-star CB: Utah’s highest ranked recruit and for good reason, the Utes will have to fight off a late push from ASU for his services. Long, fast, and tough, Johnson would make a strong push to be one of the starting CBs next season. Expect him to stick with the Utes but make us fans sweat over his decision until the LOI is signed.
Corrion Ballard, Four-star JUCO S: Ballard will immediately be in the mix to start in Marcus WIlliams’ free safety spot. He’s long and fast and VERY good with the ball in his hands after a pick. He’s already signed with Utah, so there’s no need to worry about him taking his considerable skills elsewhere.
Tareke Lewis, Four-star JUCO CB: Literally think of the JUCO version of Johnson. Insane measurables, about the exact same height and weight, and also fighting off a late push from ASU. Lewis has recently said that although his relationship with ASU’s DB coach is strong, he’s only had it for a few weeks and that Utah’s still his leader since his relationship with ALL of the coaches is stronger and longer. Expect him to stick with the Utes and start next year.
Marquise Blair, Four-star JUCO S/OLB: Think of a skinnier Hansen and you’ve got Blair. A JUCO All American last year, Blair is the type of versatile player who can be your SS in normal downs and then switch to a nickel linebacker. He’s risen from a three star prospect to a four star and a top 20 JUCO prospect on multiple sites within the last month, so he’s not just a flash in the pan JUCO only guy. Look for him to back up Hansen next year and rotate in.
Jordan Agasiva, Three/Four-star JUCO G/T: The perfect Harding recruit, Jordan is long, strong, mean and versatile. ESPN has him as the top JUCO guard whereas other sites list him as a three-star tackle. I’m with ESPN and think he’ll be the replacement for Isaac. He’ll be a top tier guard next season and has the mobility to continue the trend of strong pulling linemen who are also solid pass blockers. A current member of the team might take over for Asiata, but I personally think Jordan is being brought in to compete and more likely than not take the spot outright. He’s that good.
Tyquez Hampton, Four-star WR: Already on campus so that he can participate in spring camp, Hampton is a big (6’2”), long, strong and versatile receiver with decent speed for his size (about a 4.5 40). His team utilized him in many different ways just to make sure he gets the ball in his hands. He is very good at winning jump balls, but shows clean route running and strong hands that just need a bit more refining to take his skills to the next level.
John Penisini, Three-star JUCO DT: The token Snow College recruit (I’m joking. . . mostly), Penisini is a good DT. Probably the recruit I know the least on, but when it comes to evaluating D-line talent, the Utes have earned the benefit of the doubt. Expect him to come in and immediately join the D-line rotation.
Jason Shelley, Three-star QB: This year’s QB recruit is another undersized, underrated dual threat QB in the Tyler Huntley mold. Shelley doesn’t have Huntley’s pure arm talent (not many do), but he’s the better athlete of the two and does a very good job both in and out of the pocket. In particular, he is amazing for a high schooler at keeping his eyes up and looking downfield when he’s forced to scramble or escape the pocket. Shelley has also been Utah’s most vocal recruiter among the recruits, especially to his fellow Texas recruits.
Jaylen Dixon, Three-star WR: Shelley’s high school teammate, Dixon and Shelley have been playing together since the 4th grade. Although he doesn’t have ideal height and will most likely be stuck as a slot receiver, Dixon has the speed, agility, and hands to thrive there. He’s shut down his recruiting and will be signing with Utah on NSD.
Orlando Umana, Three-star G: Another Ute prospect coming out of Grant High School in California, Umana is very underrated in my mind. If you watch his tape, you’ll see a mean streak that Harding will absolutely love. He’s strong and thrives in the run game. Umana wont win any footraces or skills competitions, but he has good functional strength and wont be bullied or moved around too much.
Devin Lloyd, Three-star Ath: My vote for the biggest sleeper in this class, Lloyd just got his third star from multiple sites and Ute fans will absolutely LOVE him. He’s a 6’4, 210, raw athlete who’s still learning the game. That being said, his athletic tools and frame make him the perfect puzzle piece for the staff. Right now, he’s a WR/Safety prospect but his frame can easily pack on the extra muscle to make him a Flex TE or a S/OLB hybrid like Hansen and Blair. Watch his tape but unlike the other prospects, look solely at the way he moves. His fluidity and athletic tools will be fun to watch over the years when the Utes staff adds in the technique.
Michael Richardson, Three-star OT: Local kid with a frame to pack on another 40 pounds of muscle, Richardson is a Ute through and through who will be a developmental prospect for the team. He’s technically skilled at both run and pass blocking and just needs time in a college weight and nutrition program to bring his physical tools up to par.
So what do you think? Who’s your favorite current commit? Who’s the sleeper of the class? Who’s the best BlockU writer? Feel free to comment down below.